A project should not only start with an event (see 'Kick-off Retreat' and 'Kick-off Meeting') but its end should also be marked in some way. This is important in order to 'let the project go' and be ready for a new start.
At the end of the project its structure is dissolved and the team members' professional future may possibly lead them in different directions. Some collaborators may leave the institution, others will continue in new projects with new colleagues.
Everybody has invested much energy into creating good teamwork and relationships that might continue after the end of the project have been created. The dissolution of a team is always a sort of farewell that should be marked appropriately, e.g. by passing the project in review.
The best way to do this is to organize a (budgeted) final get-together that marks the end of the project for all concerned, including to the institution itself. Invite all participants of the kick-off meeting and everybody else who was actively involved in the project.
You neglect the active dissolution of the project's structure and the marking of the project's end because:
- team members are given new tasks within the institution
- team members are leaving the institution and their leaving is organized on a different level and to mark the end of their project work is not a priority
- others who were involved in the project have already turned to new activities
- you are generally not in favour of ceremonies and/or have not put aside any financial resources for such an activity
- there still remains a lot of work to be done until right up to the end of the project or even beyond its official duration
- the next project has already started.
If you dissolve the structure of a project actively you provide an opportunity for feedback and therefore are able to express the deserved appreciation of the team's work; you also help avoid project fatigue. As a result the institution will have less fluctuation in personnel and can retain qualified people; the project's partners will be motivated for further collaboration.
If you celebrate the end of your project:
- your project will have a clearly marked end point
- the project and its team will receive the appreciation they merit.
- At the end of a project provide opportunities to reflect on the project's achievements (and failures), to talk about the teamwork and to allow for the possibility of mutual feedback about both personal and professional approaches to work
- Dissolve the team by expressing your renewed appreciation for all their work and achievements.
- Plan well ahead for the final event
- Make sure you plan the event for a time when all project work has been finalized.
Possible ways for marking the end of a project:
- Organize a dinner with the team members
- Organize a cocktail party in the executing institution's premises
- Organize an excursion
- Organize a public final event
- Has an event to mark the end of the project been planned and budgeted for?
- Have there been appropriate goodbyes and thanks for all involved?
- Has the end of the successful project been celebrated?